Organic search is not only the largest driver of website traffic but also the greatest driver of revenue in most sectors [BrightEdge data (2014)].
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Search Engine Optimisation has become one of the primary tasks of today’s tech-savvy marketing teams. Investing a bit of time and effort into Search Engine Optimisation can significantly improve your website’s Search Engine rankings, which in turn has a positive impact on your company’s exposure and visitor numbers.
However, improving the Search Engine Optimisation of your site isn’t as simple as it may seem, given the ever-changing digital landscape. Considering the trends in the digital space and the direction that Search Engine Optimisation looks to be heading, there are certain guidelines you should follow in order to best optimise your site.
Focus on Long Tail Keywords
In the current digital environment, keyword research is as important as ever. Google’s most recent algorithm update, Hummingbird, has brought something of a revolution in keyword research. The new update means that Google ensures it takes the whole query into account (sentence, conversation & meaning), rather than just focussing on particular words. The goal of Hummingbird is to match web pages with the meaning of the search rather than with just a few main words.
The best way to do this is to research long tail keywords that are relevant to your audience and create high-quality, user-friendly content around these terms. ‘Long-tail keywords’ refers to keyword phrases that are longer and more specific to the product or service. Visitors are more likely to use these when they know exactly what they are looking for or are close to a point-of-purchase, so when they’re used correctly they can be hugely valuable to your website.
Continuously Improve your User’s Experience
Although Google has indicated that user experience isn’t a specific factor in ranking, it does affect certain aspects of your Search Engine Optimisation. Your website’s load speed is an example of an important factor that greatly affects your user’s experience. If your site takes a while to load pages, the user is likely to leave quickly, resulting in a high bounce rate – which is bad for your rankings.
Mobile optimisation is another necessity for user experience in the digital age. Mobile implementation errors are reported to cost websites 68% of organic search traffic, according to [BrightEdge data, 2014]. Make sure your website is fully optimised for mobile phones and tablet devices so that you’re not losing valuable visitors.
Build Links Selectively
Link building remains an important part of Search Engine Optimisation. In the past, trying to get quick links from any other site was an acceptable link-building strategy, but as Google’s algorithm has got smarter, your link-building must follow suit.
With its new algorithm, Google is better able to judge which link are directing its users to relevant content that solves their query, and assigns more value to these sources. Simply put, you have to build links for users, not search engines. Google wants you to earn your links, so focus on creating quality content and getting people to share it.
Build An Online Network
In order to build quality backlinks, it’s important to interact and engage with people online. By building relationships with influencers, brand advocates and consumers, you are more likely to receive natural links from these sources – it might just take you a bit longer.
Use all the online channels available to you to interact regularly with these sources in order to keep your brand at the front of their mind. Only once you’ve built that relationship, can you consider getting in touch with them about linking and even then, you have to offer something valuable to them in return like a quality guest blog post or testimonial.
Social signals are also not a direct ranking factor for Google, but social media can have a hugely important affect on your Search Engine Optimisation. Leveraging the power of social media is dependant on quality content.
Register your business on relevant social media sites such as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, and post sharable content (both your own and curated) to these channels. If your own content is then shared by your followers, your reach will significantly expand which not only increases referral traffic to your website but also the potential for your content to be noticed and linked to by other sources.
Commit to Your Strategy
In order to be successful with Search Engine Optimisation, you have to stick at it. Search Engine Optimisation isn’t a one-time thing that you do and then move on to the next strategy. It’s an ongoing process that constantly needs time and effort dedicated to it. Consider Search Engine Optimisation as part of your wider brand building strategy, and start by understanding how your Search Engine Optimisation will benefit your customers and other stakeholders, rather than your Search Engine rankings.
By approaching Search Engine Optimisation from a customer-focussed perspective, your business won’t just rank higher on Google, but it will strengthen your brand improve your business’ reputation and credibility.